How to Choose a Surgeon & Practice
Choosing a Weight Loss Surgeon and Practice
Deciding to undergo weight loss surgery is a significant decision to make. It is very common for people to consider their options for many years before coming to a decision. Once you have decided to go ahead with surgery, the next step is finding a surgeon and practice that you are both confident and comfortable with. This is an incredibly important part of your weight loss surgery and it is important you take your time with this.
But what should you be looking for? How do you know if a practice is the right fit for you? What should you be looking for in a surgeon? We understand this can be a very overwhelming process, so we have developed a guide outlining the most important things to consider in your search.
Choosing a Surgeon
Surgeons who perform weight loss surgery are called Bariatric Surgeons. It is very important to feel comfortable with your surgeon and have a good relationship with them. Ideally, you will be seeing your surgeon for life-long follow-up, so it is essential you choose a surgeon who you are confident can help support you throughout your entire weight loss journey.
Important questions for surgeons:
- Where did they complete their medical and surgical training?
- How many weight loss surgery patients have they looked after?
- Which public hospitals are they appointed at? Is this a reputable health service?
- Do they conduct research or participate in teaching?
- Which procedures do they perform? Some surgeons may only offer the gastric band or sleeve gastrectomy and not the bypass, so therefore you may not be offered the most appropriate procedure for you due to the surgeon’s limited scope of practice.
- Does the surgeon offer revision surgery? There is always a risk of weight regain and revision surgery may be necessary. If you have to be referred to another surgeon, this may result in increased fees and more surgical risks. It is important to have continuity of care.
- What are the fees involved? Do they offer a package including post-surgery follow up? What would the fee be should revision surgery be necessary?
Choosing a practice :
It is crucial that you feel supported in every way along your weight loss surgery journey. The best environment for this is a multi-disciplinary clinic, which has a broad range of health professionals to assist you and provide a multifaceted approach to your care. Dietitians, Psychologists, Exercise Physiologists and Practice Nurses are all critical members of a supportive team, and ideally you should be seeing many health professionals for follow up. Ideally, you should try to find a practice that provides these services in one location. This not only makes it convenient and easy for you to maintain your regular follow-up, but it allows for good communication between health-care professionals.
Furthermore, a multidisciplinary practice will also be treating obesity as a multifactorial problem. The surgery itself just takes care of the biological aspect, but it is just as important to take psychological behaviours, habits and certain lifestyle factors into consideration if you are to achieve long-term success.
A practice with multiple team members in each discipline is a big plus too! This gives you the option to meet with different surgeons or dietitians to see who you click with the best prior to surgery. Do not be afraid to get a second opinion! Any great practice will welcome it.
Lastly, you want to find a practice that encourages at least long-term or ideally life-long follow-up. After all, the surgery itself is a tool that you will be working with for the rest of your life, so it is important to have that continual support. Bumps in the road are expected as changing lifestyles and habits is no easy feat, but a great team will be there every step of the way!
- Ask as many questions as possible! No question is too silly!
- Request to be put in contact with another patient who has already had surgery and can share their experiences with you
- Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
- Trust your gut! Make sure you truly feel comfortable with the people who will be supporting you through your journey! Each journey and individual is different – make sure you feel your team understands that and YOU!